Focusing Your Energy - Messages from Mom

Today, Mother's Day 2020, I recall a few messages my mother gave me about how to focus my energy. Usually, I don't go in for Hallmark holidays. Perhaps that's because they tell me what I'm supposed to do, whereas my mother told me that:

"Everybody should do whatever they want to do."

Do you love the 80s glasses?

My mother mostly applied this to the concept of everyone having dinner together on vacation. She hates cooking, so she welcomes any reduction to the likelihood that someone might think she will make dinner. I expand it for more general use. Today we often bemoan any use of the word should. In this case, though, it's apt! We should focus on what we want to do (see my How-To Tips via Facebook Live from my bicycle ride on doing more of what you love to do more often). Ironically, when we make what we want to do paramount, we contribute more to the world. When our energy and joy increase, we make more inspired decisions and take more impactful action, personally and professionally.

Another one of my favorite messages from mom:

"A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle."

It was the 70s, so this was a new concept. Now we are used to it. My mother gave me a multitude of avenues through which I absorbed the then-radical idea that women could be independent and make a mark on the world, separate from spouse and family. Thanks, mom!

How do you like this saying from a plaque that adorned the kitchen in our family's 1967 split-level ranch?

"Housework is a bitch."

I disagree with this one. I like cleaning because the physicality brings me into the present, and the resulting clean and serene home brings me peace and helps me focus. I don't like procrastinating housework because then I waste my energy thinking about how it still has to be done. It's the same with all procrastinated tasks and projects. They distract us. Reduce your to-do list, and then do what's on it! You'll be more confident and energetic. Then your accomplishments will snowball!

I'm lucky in that my mother is still giving me messages. When I texted her the quotes for this post, she responded with two additions:

"The best excuse in the world is 'I don't want to.'"

Blanket permission - love it! I often champion my coaching clients to give themselves permission to stop doing what they don't care about and stop doing what isn't a good use of their talents. Yes to the best - no to the rest!

And finally, my mother reminded me today of the following:

"Never do anything for yourself that you can pay someone to do for you."

If you have the cash - go for it! If not, you can still free up your time by offloading tasks or reducing the time spent on them. First, ask yourself if all your routine tasks are required. If not - stop doing them. For necessary items, experiment with ways to spend less time on them. Reduce your standards. If you have household members, negotiate with them to do more. Challenge yourself to complete tasks faster by setting a timer. When you start a task, pretend you have hired yourself, and give yourself a limited time period to complete the task. Meet your own expectations by being more efficient and doing an amazing job in a short time period so that you will be hired again.

In fact, this last recommendation is a great way to approach your whole life. Put on a hat for the role you are taking during a certain time period, and then do the best job in that role for a limited time period. Then take off the hat for that role and move on to something else. I've now met my expectations for the "Blog Writer" role, using a tad more time than I allotted, and I'm off to put on a different hat. See you next time!

What messages did your mom give you about how to focus your energy? Are they working for you now?